A young father struck while on his way to work was the first of at least seven people killed by New York City motorists since last Tuesday. Of the five crashes where the driver remained at the scene — three in Manhattan, one in Staten Island, and one in Queens — none were charged with a crime.
Erik Johnson, 24, was crossing Rockaway Boulevard at Farmers Boulevard at around 6:19 a.m. on November 26 when he was hit by the driver of a Subaru Impreza, according to reports. An NYPD press notice published by Capital New York said Johnson, who was not immediately identified, suffered severe trauma to the head and body, and was pronounced dead on arrival at Jamaica Hospital. NYPD said the driver was traveling eastbound on Rockaway Boulevard as Johnson was crossing north to south, which would be in the direction of JFK Airport.
The NYPD notice was pasted into a story about a week-long motorist “ticket blitz,” described by police as “part of the NYPD’s ongoing effort to decrease traffic infractions and conditions that cause death and injury to pedestrians.”
An early report from DNAinfo said the driver who hit Johnson “was not expected to be charged with a crime.” As of today NYPD said it does not appear that the driver was charged or summonsed. When we asked if police had information on driver speed or who had the right of way, a spokesperson said there is no indication that the victim was in a crosswalk.
The intersection of Rockaway Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard is a wide and foreboding asphalt hellscape, with sidewalks on the north side of Rockaway Boulevard only. There is one crosswalk, also on the north side, across Farmers Boulevard. There is no marked pedestrian crossing on Rockaway Boulevard, where Johnson was killed. If the crash unfolded as described by NYPD, a crucial piece of information would be whether or not the driver was proceeding with the signal.
Erik Johnson was killed in the City Council district represented by Donovan Richards, and in the 105th Precinct. As of October precinct officers had issued 265 speeding tickets in 2013, and 83 summonses for failure to yield to a pedestrian. According to the precinct web site the next community council meeting is the last Wednesday in January.
Six others in addition to Johnson were reported killed by motorists while walking and biking in the city in five days last week.
At least 20 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by New York City drivers in November, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Last month’s toll was the highest number of victims since last January, when 20 people died while walking and biking.